Teenagers often pull out the trust card defense. It sounds like, “Don’t you trust me?” or “You don’t trust me.” Believe me. When they say this they have something to hide.
So the best parental response is, “You’re right. That’s my job. You can trust that I will do everything I can to help you see when you are putting yourself in harm’s way.”
Wise parents know that teens often fail to see the dangers in their actions due to lack of experience. They thrive on a system of insider information to trick parents. Peers, advertising, and predators easily mislead kids this age. So it is our job to know what they are doing and be available for advice or placing limits.
Here are some words you can use sometime.
“I know that you are a good kid. Where things can go wrong for you is when you make decisions based on your smarts without the wisdom that comes from experience. My job is to share experience that only comes from seeing things go wrong. I can only do that when I know what you are facing. So don’t take it personally if I seem to be nosey or if I don’t trust everything you tell me. I love you too much to neglect my job.”
©2009 Jim Fay, Charles Fay, Ph.d.& Love and Logic® Institute